Architecture buffs looking for hands-on projects or ways to encourage future generations of architects should warm up their credit cards in anticipation of this month’s release of three custom model building sets that feature iconic structures by fundamental and controversial architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The sets are a collaborative work between Atom Brick and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, in an effort to bring attention to the new model building material, invented by Adam Reed Tucker to “inspire today’s builders to create the world around them using smaller, Inter-Connecting Bricks.” The Atom Brick is 3/4 the size of “standard” (presumably Lego) building bricks. According to Atom Brick, the reduced size allows for more details to be represented in models. The three sets recreate the Darwin D. Martin House, built between 1903 and 1905 in the historic Parkside neighborhood of Buffalo, New York; the architect’s own winter retreat outside Scottsdale, Arizona, Taliesin West; and Unity Temple, built between the years 1905 and 1908 in Oak Park, Illinois.
Each of these structures is notable within Wright’s oeuvre, whether for the Darwin D. Martin House’s reconciliation of strong rectilinear lines with the property’s sprawling gardens, the integration of rakish rooflines and dynamic floor plan in Taliesin West, or the homogeneity and modernist efficiency of Unity Temple’s reinforced concrete construction.
For anyone with a penchant for Frank Lloyd Wright aesthetics, these block sets — which come complete with landscape elements and foliage — are sure to have strong appeal. They fit with the architect’s mission in creating the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in 1940, to inspire the world through beautiful spaces that are thoughtfully designed and experienced. With a mission to preserve Wright’s legacy, the foundation also is dedicated to pursue new innovations and inspire innovators and create dynamic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education programming.
One can think of few better ways to burnish the architect’s reputation and seed future interest in his principles than to start young builders early on these sets. As an additional benefit, the models are far less likely than original Wright constructions to suffer from unsustainable design elements and costly maintenance needs. At those rates, you can hardly afford not to buy the miniature version!